The Dress: A True Original (with quite a story)

Have you ever wanted to do something or try something so badly that it seems to haunt you... is the subject of many daydreams and quiet reflections?  Maybe it is running a marathon, writing a book, having a large family... for me it is designing dresses.

It all started a very long time ago.  I vividly remember "designing" all sorts of '80's looks while being discouraged from a life in fashion.  Fast forward to college - after leaving my parent's alma mater due to my unhappiness, I finally found myself in the DAAP program at the University of Cincinnati.  Immersed in art classes, patternmaking, sewing and fashion history, I was in heaven.  

On an internship several years later, one of the head designers sat a group of eager interns down (me included) and lectured us about the reality of fashion design.  The moral of the talk - life in fashion is not all that it is cracked up to be... especially if you want a family.  I thought I was being very wise as I put aside my creative aspirations for business school.  

Then life starts to move way too quickly.  Its as though you board a high speed train to middle age after college graduation.  The days just pass... I am not sure where they go... it is is a little sad at times.  I feel as though so many projects/experiences/aspirations are put on hold while you have to deal with all of the "small things".  Meanwhile, our chance to take advantage of those more meaningful opportunities pass us by.

After working, getting married and having kids, I found myself wanting (needing) an outlet.  I was craving to feel like my old creative self again.  Thanks to inspiration from my fabulous "sisters" (by marriage, but whatever) I began my closet editing and styling business.  This was an excellent entrĂ©e back into fashion and a job that I loved!  As an extension of that I started my blog - which has now taken on its own personality, but I absolutely love it!

With all of this going on there was still one thing missing... I still wanted to make dresses, but haven't had the courage to get my hands dirty and give it a try.  Then one chilly January morning, I jumped out of bed... inspired!

I had an idea for a dress to wear to an upcoming wedding.  My only drawback is my lack of sewing skills.  I just was never very good with the sewing machine.  Therefore my dress had to be very simple in construction.  I dug up my old sewing tools, but I couldn't find my hip curve.  I have a feeling it is hiding out at my sister's apartment in Columbus, so a mixing bowl will have to do...

I did my best after draping some muslin... I am extremely rusty!  Then dress my daughter's got their hands on it...

Months passed as I debated fabric color, etc.  To make a long story short, I finally decided to enlist the help of a seamstress.  I was planning on getting her opinion on fabric, but she eventually did not call me back.  So, I ordered the fabric a week before the wedding!  Of course it was delayed and I was finally able to start the dress the Thursday before the wedding.  Things were going very smoothly... 

Until I tried it on.  Apparently the form has a broader back than I do.  With muslin, this didn't matter.  When working with silk charmeuse, it makes a big difference.  I had to tear out all of the seams and start again... ugh!  So, the dress was not looking as good as it originally had, and I lost a lot of time!

My studio... otherwise known as the dining room.

In the end I finished the dress.  It was not up to the standards that I would have liked, but I had put so much into this project that I had to wear it.  

For the most part, I was pretty happy with myself.  I felt really sexy in the dress until a thread broke...

I suddenly felt a breeze where I definitely shouldn't... thankfully my fabulous sister-in-law was able to help me with some last minute pinning!

What did I learn from all of this?  First, I am taking sewing lessons.  I love making dresses, but don't want to be limited by my lack of skill.  Second, it is very easy to get up in the day-to-day issues and let the bigger opportunities slip by.  I am not going to do that anymore.  It takes a lot of effort and initiative to tackle the bigger projects, but it is so worth it in the end.  

                                                                                                             - Allison

No comments:

Post a Comment